Word Study Ideas for Elementary Teachers (1st-5th Grade) in 2024

Before I get into sharing some simple word study ideas, let me tell you something: sometimes things are just ironic. I’ve been working with my first grade son on word study patterns that complement his weekly focus in class. For example, last week they did long i using “magic e” so I created some games for him to expose him to all of the ways to make the long i sound. He’s loving it and I’m loving that he’s sorting and reading the patterns. The irony comes from the fact that I have randomly been receiving a notable number of emails asking me about word study and what I do and use. Read below to get some helpful word study ideas for elementary teachers you can use in your classroom.

3 Word Study Ideas for Elementary Teachers

Below are 3 word study ideas for elementary teachers.

1. Use Anchor Charts

The first word study idea on the list is to use anchor charts. Anchor charts are a great tool for teaching word study. They are creating for modeling and serving as a reference tool as students work independently or with partners. Let me share an example of how I use them in my classroom!

Below you can see an anchor chart I used to model how to play the game scattergories.

This activity was perfect when we were also studying data and graphing in math. Ultimately, my students will need to sort data into categories, pose a question, and create a visual to represent their findings. It’s a lot for their little 8-year-old brains to grasp. I always find the “forming categories” to be the most challenging part. We had a breakthrough moment today when I related the concept to sections of the grocery store (produce, canned goods, meats, freezer). Wish I thought of that one sooner!

Anyway, we played Scattergories as a fun word study activity. It was so much fun! The goal was to include words that nobody else had listed. After the time period ended, I manned the chart paper and began taking words from volunteers. A child would say a word. I would write it on the chart and ask, “Does anyone else have that word on their list?”.

If other students had also written the word down on the chart paper, they would give the silent “me too” signal in response. This is a great classroom management strategy!

If the word is on more than one student’s paper, then they would draw a line through it. If a child was the only one to think of the word he would circle it and I added a star on the chart next to the word.

I was so impressed with the words they came up with and we had a great time building our lists!

I recommend you try this word study idea in your classroom!

2. Incorporate Fun Hands On Learning and Games

The second word study idea on the list is to incorporate fun hands on learning experiences.

As elementary teachers, we know how important it is to incorporate hands on learning opportunities and fun games in our classroom. It engages students in their learning and results in better learning outcomes. Of course we should incorporate it into our word study instruction as well.

I’m really focusing on word study as opposed to just “spelling” this year and have been designing some games and activities to go with it. I wanted to come up with some materials that could be used week after week by simply changing out the word patterns. My hope was that they would become familiar with the directions which would make the activities more efficient and beneficial to them.

elementary students working on word study activities

A word study center that is open-ended, highly engaging, student-driven, reusable, and easily prepped… Does this exist and where can I find it?! Good news: it does! You can find it right here. It is an interactive word study display called BOGGLE. It’s one of my favorite word study games!

This word study activity invites students to explore letters to create words. It is based on the game BOGGLE, which you may have played when you were younger. It serves as a great whole group game, small group activity, and reusable center.

Are you looking for a word study center that is engaging, reusable, and open-ended for differentiation purposes? This BOGGLE center is exactly what you need! Learn all about my Boggle Word Study Game resource! It’s one of my favorite word study ideas for elementary teachers.

Scoop up this Boggle Word Study Game Board!

Boggle bulletin board display
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3. Offer Daily Practice

This word study idea may seem obvious, but it’s important to note. Students need to be working on word study skills regularly. One way to offer daily practice is by incorporating a word study center in your literacy centers.

We have a list of spelling words that accompany our reading curriculum (Treasures). I use that as a guide, but differentiate my lists to meet the needs of my learners. This meant I needed to create activities that were open-ended in the sense that the students could be doing the same activity, but with their own personal word lists.

I use these printable spelling activities with spelling lists, word study lists, vocabulary, and content area words. I also use them as homework pages. They are also great to leave when you have a sub. Oh, and if you are a Daily 5er, then these rock for Word Work.

Download these printable spelling activities now!

elementary student working on a word study activity
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In closing, I hope you found these word study ideas for elementary teachers helpful! If you did, then you may also be interested in these posts and resources:


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